A Journal for Men & Women
Raise the question of “women’s roles” among conservative Christians and you will send almost all the men scurrying for cover. So dominant are certain feminist assertions—that, left on their own, men will mistreat women and that the Christian tradition as we have it is the work of men left on their own—that men who are not guilty of a single chauvinist thought will grovel as much as they must to prove their innocence and enlightenment.
Even those who hold to the New Testament teaching on the headship of men tend to grant the feminist claims in every other way. Many will not use man and he generically, and we even see, once in a while, the hitherto unimaginable sight of very conservative men avoiding he when speaking of the Father and the Son and especially the allegedly genderless Holy Spirit. When they have to say they oppose women being put into positions of headship, they almost always add some qualifying phrase like “but I certainly don’t mean to say that women are inferior,” as if holding the biblical view were in itself evidence of misogyny.
A few weeks ago one of our readers, an old friend with some status in the wider world, wrote me to complain that Touchstone ran only male writers and “operates [on] a male-only basis.” In our articles “all references to Christians are always ‘he,’ never ‘she,’” and even my essay on “Imaginative Orthodoxy” “addresse[d] a male-only readership” because I called my readers “modern men.” For these reasons—the relative lack of women writers and the use of generic language—women don’t “rate in your pages.” In Touchstone, “Male is normative, female is exceptional.”
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David Mills has been editor of Touchstone and executive editor of First Things.
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